If all I wanted was to get myself off-grid and “free” from the many constraints of modern society, I could do it, fairly easily even. I could simply move to one of the (few) parts of the world where traditional lifeways still persist, although I might have to save a chunk of money to get there, or be willing to be an absolute and utter hermit in the more densely populated areas of our own country. But I want far more than that. I want for anyone who desires it and is willing to work for it to also have the opportunity to live a self-determined life. I want to offer a model anyone could use to achieve that. I want to create the means for American society to transform itself, and thereby the rest of the world.
This is where solidarity comes in.
Solidarity is the idea that if someone else is experiencing social or other structural injustice, I stand by that person and work with them to change that situation. Many people may be familiar with this through the history of the labor movements in Europe and the United States, and revolutionary movements of former colonies. Really this concept contributes to the strength of any community.
Around the world as industrialization and colonization have occurred and continue to occur, local communities often experience a breakdown in social cohesion. Much of this could be considered to be undermining solidarity by encouraging people to be primarily concerned with their own fortunes and not the whole of the community. Unfortunately, this process divorces people from the reality that the condition of a community’s solidarity reflects whether other conditions which support the success of individuals to be empowered are likely to continue.
I feel like here I’m about to get into self and inter-reliance. Just making a break here in case I decide they really are separate subjects.
Reliance can be viewed as 3 potential components: self, inter, and dependency. Often in our (American) society, reference is only made to self-reliance and dependence. This is of great concern because it suggests that only two extremes and no middle ground exist, which doesn’t reflect my experience of reality.
Self reliance suggests that people have a number of traits which propel them towards greater achievement. Dependency suggests that a person cannot take initiative or be motivated unless they are pushed by another person. While both conditions occur, neither is really healthy, and it seems to me that most people blend a combination of these two, primarily centered on a third type of reliance, which I term inter-reliance. More on that soon!